Friday, February 23, 2007

Lieberman Applying the Pressure to Anti-war Dems

Senator Lieberman is putting the strong-arm on Harry Reid as the senate prepares another round in the anti-war battle. Here's what he said about switching parties in the Report from Carrie Budoff of The Politico:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut told the Politico on Thursday that he has no immediate plans to switch parties but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind...

“I have no desire to change parties,” Lieberman said in a telephone interview. “If that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don’t feel comfortable with.”

Asked whether that hasn’t already happened with Iraq, Lieberman said: “We will see how that plays out in the coming months,” specifically how the party approaches the issue of continued funding for the war.

Although Time reported that Lieberman said his allying with the GOP was "a very remote possibility," the senator is now changing his tune to "I have no desire or intention to leave the Democratic Party or the Democratic caucus. I hope and believe we'll never get to that point, so I believe this latest flurry is much ado about nothing."

At this point, it doesn't matter much what he says. Lieberman has created enough concern among Democrat leaders to get their attention.


sirocco said...

Dem Senators should push legislation they support, and if Lieberman swaps parties, so be it. Better to let him swap, even if it means the 50-50 split and losing the committee chairmanships.

As long as they let him hold them hostage, they aren't going to be able to get thinfs done anyway. A clear, substantial majority want something done about getting out of Iraq. Make it clear who is preventing that.

Bruce P. Murchison said...

Lieberman is an honest, respectable man. He has what many politicians (on both sides of the aisle) are missing: integrity. I don't like his social politics, but I do respect the man. He is one of very few Democrats that can get my praise.

sirocco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sirocco said...

You mean this Lieberman?

Bruce P. Murchison said...

Yes, Sirocco, this Lieberman. Consider the source of the article (Salon).

sirocco said...

It's not an article, but a blog post ... and the quotes he gives are impeccably sourced.

Now, you may disagree with the author's characterization, but you can't argue that, in comparing his quotes from last year to this Lieberman is, at best, being intellectually dishonest ... and it would not be the 1st time.

Framer said...


About your "imepeccably sourced>"

You are not going out and believing Greenwald again. If you want to have a discussion on intellectually dishonest, he always makes a fine starting point.

Hell, Sirocco, I would quote you as a higer source of intellectual argument than Greenwald. You make better arguments unaided.

sirocco said...

I disagree regarding Greenwald, although I don't alays agree with him.

However, the point remains ... he provides sources for the Lieberman quotes, and uses Lieberman's own words to illustrate the paucity of character in Lieberman's positions on the matter. There actually isn't an argument to be made -- Lieberman does all the hard work himself.

As for the actual site you link, the poster makes several incorrect claims:

1. The poster claims Greenwald takes quotes out of context. Certainly he excerpts them, but not to the extent the poster implies (as the poster does by excerpting Greenwald's excerpts). Greenwald actually provides several paragraphs of context for each quote, and also provides links to the full articles for those desiring complete context.

The qando poster is well aware of this, of course, yet chooses to accuse Greenwald of precisely the thing the qando poster does in fact -- taking a small bit of Greenwald's original post out and displaying it as if Greenwald had not provided any context vis-a-vis Lieberman, while ignoring the lengthy excerpts (and links) Greenwald had provided earlier in his piece.

2. The poster is correct the "clear, hold, build" strategy was not a nation-wide goal for much of 2005.

However, by the time of the cited Lieberman op-ed (Nov. 2005) it _was_ (which the poster conveniently ignores), and had been for several months (it was cemented in an Executive Summary of Nov. 30 2005, after the Lieberman op-ed, but in effect well before then, with Rice mentioning it in Senate testimony in July 2005) ... and Lieberman, at that time, did not see the need for more troops to implement this strategy.

3. The author is correct that Libeberman (in 2005) never explicitly claimed "we were on the verge of success", as Greenwald puts it. However, if you read the full text of his piece, that's clearly a reasonable characterization of what he is presenting. Lieberman does make the following statement:

"What a colossal mistake it would be for America’s bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will, and in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory."

Which comes out as roughly equivalent to Greenwald's characterization.

Anyhow ... someone is being disingenious on the matter, but it is not Greenwald.

Framer said...


1. Greenwald implies that Lieberman's prior quote refers to the security situation in Baghdad in particular when this is clearly not the case. Lieberman refers to the Sunni triangle and says that we have had some success there, which we have, but the quote Greenwald specifically culls is not about Baghdad, which is opposite of the impression that Greenwald is trying to convey. He is either being sloppy or disingenuous here. With Greenwald, sloppy is a possibility.

2. Obviously it has been shown that the "clear, hold, build" strategy has been a success in many areas of Iraq, but not so much in others. It is quite reasonable to come to the conclusion that the reason it has not worked so well in Baghdad is that we did not have enough troops in Baghdad. Because a change in strategy is needed in Baghdad, does not invalidate the successes in other areas of Iraq. To go even further, I would bet there are things we will do in six months that we are not doing now. That does not mean that what we are doing now is a failure, it just a shift of strategy which is a good thing.

3. Not at all. It is possible to question the way the war is being conducted both now and in the past and yet still feel like it can, should, and needs to be won. This is actually the most prudent position possible, and one Lieberman has held all along. Greenwald is trying to play out-of-context gotcha, a game he is very familiar with. He is not worth your considerable effort.

sirocco said...

By the way, in my initial post on this thread I mentioned losing chairmanships if Lieberman were to switch parties.

It doesn't appear that would actually happen. In the rules to govern this session, apparently there was no provision to allow for reconfiguration of comittees in the case of changes in the party make-up.

This means even if Lieberman switches, the committees would remain unchanged _unless_ there was an agreement to revisit the session rules, something the Dems would presumably filibuster.

If so then lets stop letting him hold anything hostage, and get everyone's cards on the table.

Framer said...

I may be entirely wrong here, but I believe that it is not possible to filibuster senate rules issues, therefore the whole Nuclear/Constitutional option debate of yesteryear.

That being said, Lieberman is not a Republican, so he ought not be threatening to become one over this one issue. Just vote the way he wishes on the war and leave it at that.

If he does an about-face on a little more domestic policy, then we can talk.

sirocco said...

I agree with you vis-a-vis Lieberman. Discounting his views on the war, his social stances align far more with the left.

Regarding the rules issue, I certainly am no expert. ...

sirocco said...


Addressing your points in order:

1. I am a little unclear as to which Lieberman quote you are referring to,but I think its the one from his article from 2005. Proceeding with that assumption, here is the quote as Greenwald excerpts for comparison late in his piece (he gives more context earlier):

Joe Lieberman, 2005: "The administration's recent use of the banner 'clear, hold, and build' accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week."

Here is the full paragraph, and the subsequent one, which includes your reference to the Sunni triangle:

"Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground in Iraq. The administration’s recent use of the banner “clear, hold, and build” accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

We are now embedding a core of Coalition Forces in every Iraqi fighting unit which makes each unit more effective and acts as a multiplier of our forces. Progress in “clearing” and “holding” is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul, and Talafar and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being “held” secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and Coalition Forces are now jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle. "

Lieberman clearly references use of this strategy in Baghdad, and does so directly. This is IN ADDITION to the reference he subseqently maes to areas in the Sunni triangle.

There is no "implication" by Greenwald here, Lieberman directly states it.

2. You know what, I actually agree with you on this matter. Times change, plans change, thoughts change. Of course, when Kerry pointed this out in 2004, he was castigated as a "flip-flopper".

Having said that, saying essentially "our strategy allows us to be successful without needing more troops" and then turning around 15 months later and saying the same strategy can ONLY be successful with more troops is a fairly severe change of heart.

3. The thing is, Lieberman never really questions HOW the war is being run. He always seems to come down in favor of whatever the administration currently wants, regardless of the administration's past track record.

If the administration changed tack tomorrow and said "Well, let's get out by the end of the year after all" would you bet Lieberman wouldn't change tack just as quickly?

Regardless, that 2005 piece doesn't challenge or question the war or it's conduct in any serious manner. What it does do is try to present things as going better than people might have thought at the time -- a view which, obviously, Lieberman turned out to be wrong on.

Framer said...

OK, here is the quote:

"Progress in “clearing” and “holding” is being made. The Sixth Infantry Division of the Iraqi Security Forces now controls and polices more than one-third of Baghdad on its own. Coalition and Iraqi forces have together cleared the previously terrorist controlled cities of Fallujah, Mosul, and Talafar and most of the border with Syria. Those areas are now being “held” secure by the Iraqi military themselves. Iraqi and Coalition Forces are now jointly carrying out a mission to clear Ramadi, now the most dangerous city in Al-Anbar province at the west end of the Sunni Triangle. "

Is there anything about this quote that wasn't true in Nov. 2005? It says one third of Baghdad is controlled by Iraqi forces, not ALL of Baghdad. This is where the shortfall occurs. It was assumed that more Iraqis would become available to plug the gaps to finish the strategy. This didn't turn out to be true in Baghdad, but it was true in Talafar, for instance, and Al-Anbar, where the war is really going well for us currently (not that you'd hear of it on the news).

Eventually, enough Iraqi's could have been freed up to cover Baghdad, but because time is now of the expediency of political necessity, this must be accomplished sooner. Thus the surge of American troops.

The surge is a lesser portion of the new strategy in my opinion. The change in tactics and rules of engagement has been far more useful to this point in the Petraeus regime.

AZAce said...


Actually, I don't think Lieberman would agree with Bush if he suggested getting out by years-end since his position would then contradict his pro-Israeli stance.

As for Lieberman's threats, remember, he is caucusing with the Dems which is what gives the Dems a slight majority. Regardless of what committee he might sit on, he could caucus with the Reps and cause nightmares for Reid without changing parties.

sirocco said...


As far as I know, the info Lieberman cited in 2005 was accurate, it's the conclusion(s) he draws which I think are incorrect.

Having said that, I note you are shifting ground on the defense of Lieberman/critique of Greenwald ...

It's beyond dispute Lieberman has changed his position regarding the need for more troops rather drastically. I will stipulate there are perfectly plausible reasons this might be done (and you lay out one such scenario). However, as of yet Lieberman has not laid out any such rationale for his change of views on the matter.


Aye, Lieberman can certainly choose to caucus with either party. However, it's my understanding from items I have read lately this would have less effect than most realize.

I don't believe there would be any change in the actual committee makeup ... meaning Dems can still block legislation they don''t like if they stuck to straight party-line votes. The only place it would come into play would be in the case of 50-50 votes on the floor, and the symbolism of it.